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Noelle Campbell Sorensen
11 Watchers122 Deviations
Jordan moved through the cafeteria line, sliding his tray along the smooth synthetic surface, only slowing as the android on the other side of the serving bar scooped him a mass of brownish gray mass that landed with a slick "plop" on his tray.  He frowned as he looked at it.

"What is this sh!t?" he asked, looking through his lashes at the expressionless droid.

"Seventy-five percent protein, two percent-" the droid began in a asexual , almost monotone voice.

"Made out of what?" Jordan interrupted.  "Anything alive?"

"All protein comes from something that was once living," the droid replied.  Its face was like a mask that had been worn and traded one too many times.  Locals had long since stopped drawing moustaches and eyebrows on the droid, but the evidence was still there, like a newly erased chalkboard after a day at school.

"What happened to the chicken?" Jordan poked at the protein mass with his spoon and recoiled as it bounced back into shape.

"You said you were tired of chicken yesterday," a female voice said behind him.

He turned to look directly into two greenish brown eyes and felt as if he'd been struck in the gut.  He watched the two red lips beneath the average nose press together and a little thrill went up his spine.  A dark, untrimmed brow raised over one eye and he swallowed. He opened his mouth to say something intelligent in reply to her sharp look, but all that came out was  "Whaa... who?"

"I was here," she replied, as if he had asked an actual question.  "You said you were sick of chicken.  The droid doubtless calculated that into your meal plan and found you something compatible that wasn't chicken."  The corner of her mouth quirked.  "It probably doesn't even taste like chicken..."

Jordan felt stupefied at the look on her face.  But not stupefied in any way that might be reasonable or logical, and the part of his mind that hated anything illogical started to screech in the back of his mind that he was acting like an idiot.  

He tried to recall where he had seen her before. He had to have seen her before.  It was a scientific research colony on Mars.  It wasn't like it was a densely populated city on Earth or even a space station filled with rotating populations.  These were people who were stuck on the planet with him for months and would be doubtless stuck on it for their entire life, but all had volunteered in the name of science.

She had copper brown hair, an athletes body, and was almost a full foot shorter than he was, but looked up at him as if she'd p'wned him.  She had the white polo shirt and the green leaf logo of the Botanical Department.  Assuming she was a botanist seemed as logical as he could manage at the moment.

He couldn't think of anything smart to say at all.  The next sentence out of his mouth was: "What plant gives out the most oxygen?"  

She laughed and he shivered at the sound of it.  "On Earth, in space or on Mars?"

He blushed.  He could feel the red flush creep up from the colar of his shirt to cover his cheeks until his scalp tingled.  He resisted the urge to touch his hair, his mind instantly on his thinning hairline.  "On Mars, of course," he said, and tried to smile.

"There's no way to know the answer to that yet," she said and smiled brighter, but more crookedly.  "There are theories, of course..."

Her crooked smile made him feel more stupid, but at least he was smiling back. His eyes started to wander down to her lips again, then her neck and they stuck on the cross laying on her creamy mocha with extra cream colored skin. He frowned.  "You're a Christian?" he asked before he could stop himself to think on what he was saying.

Her smile broke and she pulled back slightly.  "Yes." She nodded.  "Yes I am."

It was at this time that logical part of his mind took over, and suppressed, the superseded feeling side of himself started screeching warnings in the back of his mind.  His mouth kept moving.  "You're a scientist AND a Christian?"

She took a breath, the mischievous sparkle in her eye disappearing.  "And a woman." She smiled, but the mirth was completely gone from her face. "Isn't that amazing?"  She pushed past him, separating him for a moment from his tray.  

He looked down at it for a moment, but he couldn't think why.  He didn't look back up for a good minute, suddenly blank -- each part of his mind as quiet as the Martian Desert, and feeling just as cold.  He looked for the woman he had been talking to.  She was walking away from the counter, into the cafeteria.  It didn't look like she was going to sit down and he wondered if he should stop her, invite her to sit with him, apologize, try to make more conversation, or just give up and brood.

"Hey, Jordan," a familiar voice said behind him.

Jordan jumped slightly and turned to see his colleague, Mark Dawson, the round faced geophysicist that he shared living quarters with.  

"Oh. Hi, Mark."  HIs voice was flat and joyless.

Jordan looked to the woman leaving the cafeteria again, watching her copper hair bounce softly on her shoulders.

"What's up?" Mark asked.

Jordan looked back at Mark and then to his tray and the protein slop in the middle of it.  "I'm an idiot."

"You just discovered it?"  Mark laughed.  "I could have told you that months ago and saved you all the time and effort of introspection."
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Romance Novels

4 min read

(cross posted at

Here is what I don't get:

People will mock and ridicule women for reading romance novels and lets face it, a man would be run out of town for admitting to reading romance. I myself have been guilty of this. I don't think I read any Romance regularly until I was introduced to Julia Quinn. If I agree that some romance is pretty shallow, most are somewhat formulaic, there is a huge and obvious double standard going on among literature critics that I can point out very easily with one genre and one name: Fantasy Fiction/George RR Martin.

If you think the formula of a romance novel is bad, you should be gagging at the copious amounts of "cock" and "cunt" you see in "Song of Fire and Ice" by people who apparently have no religious system, religious leaders, stern mothers or even disapproving Paladins (which would necessitate a God, I suppose) at all. Ever. This world is completely without the foundations so vital to Western Civilization.

You could excuse the Greeks their womanizing given their mythology and the well known proclivities of the King of the Gods, but if you think Romance Novels give women unrealistic expectations of real relationships, you should be insisting that the world in Fire and Ice show the lowest expectations of the male half of the species available of relationships with rape, attempted rape, incest, and the treatment of disabled and special needs people the norm. At least the rogues in Romance Novels get 'reformed.'

If at the same time you claim this is 'realism' so more valid in today's world then men should be outraged at the level of lechery, deceit, brutality and debauchery that is expected from them by this well known fantasy author and the thousands of people that read him. Aragorn stayed true to Arwen, even though he could have had Eowyn and let her die in the battle before the Gates of Gondor. Maybe Tolkien would have balanced that that, but today's crowd certainly wouldn't have thought it wrong, or that Aragorn was less than a man for letting Eowyn feel like he loved her while pining for another woman. Surely Tolkien knew men who did this sort of thing in the war. Romanced an Italian, German, African while still writing the wife/girlfriend at home. But he didn't write his story that way because… well…Is that what we want from fantasy? Realism?

As for a historical realism, take a step back and look at the genre you are reading. This isn't realistic at all. Song of Fire and Ice isn't a portrayal of the everyday life, everyday men, or everyday women. It's fantasy. We expect it to be unreal. This fantasy doesn't say it's "historical fantasy" like Historical Romance, which is actually based in history and portrays actual elements of history.

For "reality" we turn to history and biography. As long as you are going to include dragons, magic creatures, and a system of government largely dependent on these items and a great deal of wishful thinking and imagination (there's no way *someone* wouldn't have killed Tyrion before he became an adult or relegated him to an existence of ridicule in a 'realistic' family like Lannister in any time period similar to feudal Europe), you have to agree that Romance Novels are comparable–compatible– literature or consider yourself a hypocrite.

If we can agree that entertainment is the point of fiction, then you have to give kudos to the people who write novels that millions of women want to read AND that millions of men want to read. If dark, gritty fantasy is your thing, so be it, but leave the girls their space too and if you can't say something nice about the authors of Romance (who have studied as much classical/Victorian/dark age history as George RR Martin and actually USE it IN CONTEXT of their story), then don't say anything at all.



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Romance Novels by noellecampbell, journal